Associate Board

WHEDco’s Associate Board is a growing group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about WHEDco’s mission to create thriving neighborhoods for families in the South Bronx, the nation’s poorest urban Congressional District.

The Associate Board supports this mission through a number of volunteer and fundraising projects around WHEDco’s work in areas including: education and youth development; urban farming and healthy living; commercial revitalization and small business development; and arts programming.

The Associate Board plays a strategic role in developing awareness of WHEDco’s programs, and providing opportunities for WHEDco’s growth by leveraging social media, events, and individual fundraising to support overall goals. Associate Board members have opportunities to create, plan and participate in service activities (volunteer days, volunteer drives, awareness campaigns, etc.); help plan and host fundraising events (happy hours, crowd-funding campaigns, etc.); and interact with WHEDco staff and Board of Directors. Learn more about the Roles & Responsibilities.

WHEDco accepts new applicants on a rolling basis depending on availability of open seats. In partnership with WHEDco staff, current members review applications, conduct panel interviews and elect new candidates.

Subscribe to WHEDco’s e-list and follow us on Facebook to receive updates from the Associate Board!

Contact Hannah Gaither at or 718.839.1149 for more information.

Current Associate Board Members

Angela Bonato

Angela Bonato is Maverick Capital Foundation’s Program Officer. Maverick Capital Foundation aims to alleviate poverty by researching and identifying effective interventions, funding, and strategically partnering with nonprofits. Since its inception, MCF has donated over $30 million to nonprofits in NYC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Miami.

Prior to joining Maverick Capital, Angela had 8 years of experience working in nonprofits across NYC, serving under-resourced youth through afterschool postsecondary access and success programming. Most recently, Angela worked at The Fresh Air Fund, where she was the Program Manager of a weekly mentoring program for 100 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, and 45 corporate volunteers.

Will D’Avella

William D’Avella is a real estate development professional with experience managing the full life cycle of mixed-use, public-private projects with complex financing and partnership structures. William is a Developer at Pennrose where he directs projects in varying stages of development located throughout New York State. He holds a Master’s of Real Estate from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University.

Latchmi Gopal

Latchmi Gopal is a campaign strategist who focuses on electoral based issue campaigns. She is currently the Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at Unemployed Workers United, (UWU), and specializes in community organizing, coalition development, electoral and grassroots training, and fundraising strategies. She is a first generation Guyanese- American, Bronx Native, and the eldest daughter of immigrants who taught her how to invest in community and fight for justice. She began centering economic liberation as a necessary aspect of all her campaigns after working at Demos, a national public policy think tank that focuses on issues such as raising the minimum wage and reducing student debt. She was previously on the national leadership team with By The People, a movement holding the presidential administration accountable by building local support throughout the country to call for the impeachment and removal of Trump. Most recently, as the National Distributed Organizer for the Bernie 2020 Presidential Campaign, she created and executed a national canvassing program to mobilize thousands to vote and participate politically.

Latchmi graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science and Public Health. Latchmi prioritizes creating spaces that are full of people power and elevating stories that are too often silenced in order to encourage civic engagement and personal healing to create a more equitable and just world.

Erika Hval

As the Director of Institutional Giving at Project Renewal, Inc., Erika oversees the organization’s corporate, foundation, and public fundraising strategy. She also works to heighten visibility and reach by managing the agency’s own Associate Board. Erika has worked for leading New York City social services providers for more than a decade, including for five years at WHEDco. She holds a master’s degree from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree from NYU.

Cassandra O’Hearn

Cassandra is an urban planner dedicated to preserving and developing affordable housing and walkable, equitable neighborhoods. Her passion for urban life grew out of an instant love for New York City on her first visit in June of 2001. She finally moved from the West Coast to the West Village while completing her Masters in Urban Planning at New York University and settled in Fort Greene, Brooklyn after graduation. Her degree culminated with a capstone project researching the growth of the technology sector in the South Bronx which she collaborated on with four other students and presented to the Office of the Bronx Borough President. Cassandra has worked and volunteered for several community focused nonprofit organizations across the city. Cassandra remains dedicated to protecting and preserving affordability and diversity, especially for residents of low and median income communities.

Michael Paranac

Michael has been a volunteer tutor with the WHEDco Teen Program since 2013, specifically helping high school students with homework, test preparation, and all aspects of the college admissions process. He currently works in real estate development after several years in finance. He is also an active supporter of StrikeOUT Cystic Fibrosis and previously volunteered with the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York Presbyterian. He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History, and is pursuing an MBA at Columbia Business School.

Ariadne Reza

Ariadne Reza is an Associate Relationship Manager with Citi Community Investing and Development. In this role, she represents Citi among community partners in The Bronx and Queens. In this role, she has additionally supported programs supporting economic empowerment for vulnerable populations, including EmpoweredNYC, the first municipal financial empowerment program tailored for people with disabilities. Ariadne was born in Mexico City, grew up in Queens and holds a B.A. from the City University of New York. In her free time, she is a volunteer tutor, practices yoga, and enjoys reading.

Anthony Ramirez II

Anthony Ramirez II is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Mainland Media. Anthony grew up in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. After graduating with a BA in Economics from Columbia University, he moved back to The Bronx to administer after school programs for The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation’s (SoBRO) Youth Development Center. Most recently, he worked with The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) as the Director of Youth Connect, a highly-acclaimed information & referral service which connects youth and families to services throughout the City, and managed the agencies digital outreach. Anthony co-founded Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in March 2006 with a mission to help improve the image of the Bronx, New York and to prove to the world that the Bronx is as rich with culture and history as any other place in the world. Mainland Media opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013 to further its mission.

Paul Ramirez

Paul Ramirez is a Managing Partner with Mainland Media. Paul was born and raised in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. He received his BA in Philosophy with a specialization in Ethics and Public Policy, and a BS in Music from The Bronx’s own Lehman College. Shortly after graduation, Paul worked as the Deputy Director of Wildcat Service Corporation’s Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP).YAIP provides young adults with 14 weeks of paid orientation, training and work followed by 9 months of follow-up services and assistance for placement in permanent jobs, training programs and educational opportunities. While working as the Deputy Director of YAIP, Paul also managed several Bronx-based musical acts, including The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra. Paul joined Mainland Media and its subsidiary From The Bronx in June 2010, and opened The Bronx Beer Hall in February 2013.


Associate Board Alumni

Digser Abreu

Vedan Anthony-North

Lovie Arthur

Danielle Ash

Jesse Baumgartner

Becca Broches

Kaitlyn Cawley

Bret Collazzi

Ally Fermin

Kate Gallagher

Triveni Gandhi

Roger Gill

Scott Harris

John F. Kenny

Daniel Lipschutz

Dre Manning

Danielle Nicholson

Mary Paranac

Martha Perez-Pedemonti

Cristian Ramos

Kimberly Thibault

Emerita Torres